Sunday, November 25, 2012

Number of Kids

Question: How many kids did you have? How did you decide on that number and what do you feel are the pros and/or cons to the size of family you chose?

Answers:

Melissa and Henry
We decided we wanted six children, but it took 7 pregnancies to get them here. We have never regretted having six, even when friends couldn't understand why we would have that many. We were busy supporting them in all their activities, but they appreciated what we did for them, and knew we would be at their concerts, etc. that they were involved in. Some people think that life will be easier when they are out of the house, but our philosophy has been and continues, that we will be involved in their lives as much as they want us.  Three of our children live in Arizona, two in Utah, and one in Colorado. With 21 grandchildren ranging in age from 4 months to 22 years, we are happily involved as much as we can be.

Marsha (and Richard)
We had 9 children. I came from a family of 6 children and my husband had just one brother. However, we both wanted a large family. I told a seminary teacher once that I wanted to have 7 children. He told me I’d never have that many. I knew that I would and made him a bet on it.

I don’t think we gave it much thought until that seventh child was born. We assumed we were done and a couple of years passed. We began to feel uneasy and realized that if we were going to have more we had better get to it or the opportunity would be gone. We decided to fast and pray about it, telling the Lord that we felt we had our hands full but trusted him and wanted to do what he wanted us to do. We couldn’t bring ourselves to try on purpose but we were open to more children if that was his will. I immediately started out with my 8th pregnancy and we were delighted to add another child to the family.

A year or so later we again felt that we should fast and pray about this subject. Were we to raise this last child alone or have another? We had the same feelings and concerns but opened our hearts to the wishes of the Lord, trusting in his “bigger picture”. Once again, within the month I was expecting another baby. These last two children have been such a joy to each member of our family. It was hard but we have no regrets and are most grateful.

When our youngest was still an infant I had a dream that seemed to be a message. I asked the Lord if the dream meant that we should have more children. The answer was a most definite “no”. The meaning of the dream was then revealed to my mind.

We are grateful beyond words for our large family. It continues to be the greatest blessing in our lives. Life is full and rich as we interact with one another, learn from each other and love and support one another.

After my 5th child was born I felt overwhelmed. I felt I had been such a good mother to the first 3 but at this point I felt I couldn’t offer each child nearly as much personal attention and was just keeping body and soul together. I pondered on this for some time, wondering why the Lord would encourage large families. One day the answer came to me as a very specific voice in my mind and in exact words. “It is true they don’t get as much from you, but you can not begin to evaluate what they get from each other.”

I felt a peace and assurance at that time that I had my answer and did not worry about it any further. As the years have passed I have rejoiced in the blessing our children have been to each other and this special opportunity to learn to work together, experience interacting with different personalities and finding a special brother or sister who could understand and be a support even as adults. Their children delight in any time they get together and are so supportive of one another. Children in large families learn to recognize the needs of others, to work hard and experience the joy of being needed and making a real contribution. They learn to sacrifice for others and share their joys. Younger children have role models and learn from those older siblings the things they both do and don’t want to make a part of their lives.

I like to tell young parents that the first couple of children are really hard. So much of their lives at this stake is babysitting. However, adding children when some of the children are older is a great joy to the whole family as each family member delights in the fun and progression of the babies.

As we visit with older people we hear often that they regret not having more children. It seems as you really get to love being a parent, they start leaving home. Life with our children in the home was a full and rich time of our lives. We were needed and fully engaged. Careers come and go, but in the end our children and grandchildren are all that really matters.

Rachel (and Bennett)
We had six children--five girls and one boy.  I had to have them all by C-section, so that limited the number I could have.  I would liked to have had another boy, but six were plenty!  My children were close and they argued plenty.  I thought they were going to grow up hating each other.  However, they do enjoy each other now.  In a large family the children can learn to become friends, but they also compete with each other, and that causes friction.  I think the size of family should depend on what the parents can handle--emotionally and financially.  It is good for parents to be able to give enough attention to their children, that they can teach them how to be successful and happy in this difficult world.

Danielle (and Jake)
We have 5.  We were happy at four but had a 5th because It just happened!!  As a mom, I was totally maxed when I had the 5th.  We were officially done after that.  Now, I wish I had more.  Really?  Yes. 

Follow-up question: Do you mind if I ask why you wish you had more now?

I am lonely.  I took ten years to have all my kids and when they started to leave, it only took 10 year s for them to be gone.....I enjoyed them way more as teens and young adults.

Cynthia (and Brad)
We had four. Two were two years apart. then we waited four years and two more two years apart. While I realize that sometimes the best made plans don't always work, it did for us. The first two seemed to bond with each other, and then were old enough not to be jealous of the other two. Also, it eased the burden of too many little ones needing so much care all at the same time. Then when it came time for college, it sort of spread out the expenses. However, two missions kind of fouled that theory up. When I had four, I just knew that was all I could handle. Some mothers feel they can take care of more, and that is their choice, or it just happens that way, but time, energy, and money all add up, and I realized that to do a good job with my family, that was my limit. As adults, they are not so far apart that it interferes with their friendship. They all seem to get along and love each other.

Kenneth and Catherine
We have five children. We added to our family until we felt we had them all.  Each child has the various personalities that make up the color chart of personalities.  We are blessed with children who have great companions and diligently attend the temple, have family home evening and prayer and study the scriptures together following our example.  We couldn't be more blessed with their lives and goodness as well as that of their children (our grandchildren).  Life is good!

Next week's question:
How did you get youth to want to spend time at home with their friends?

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